January 29 2012
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LA JOLLA, Calif. -- Three of the top five players on the leaderboard at the Farmers Insurance Open, including the leader, Kyle Stanley, have never won a PGA TOUR event.
Two of them, in fact, are rookies, playing in just their second tournaments on TOUR.
The last first-time winner at the Farmers Insurance Open was Jay Don Blake in 1991 – more than two decades ago. And while Gene Littler won the tournament as an amateur in 1954, there has never been a rookie winner of the Farmers Insurance Open.
Stanley, though, has a formidable lead as he pursues his breakthrough victory. He's 18 under and five strokes ahead of one of those rookies, John Huh, and John Rollins, a three-time TOUR champ.
"I've never had (a third-round lead) -- especially one this big," Stanley said. "I'm real happy with where I'm at but I still have to go out there tomorrow and just keep playing golf.
Stanley's three-round total of 198 tied Tiger Woods for the 54-hole record at Torrey Pines. Woods led by eight strokes entering the final round that Sunday in 2008 and ended up winning by the same margin.
"He's clearly playing well and in control of his game," Rollins,
who shot 68 on Saturday, said. "I can only control myself and my
game. That's what I'm going to do.
"Just go out and maybe make a few early birdies and try to get some heat on him and see what happens. Anything can happen on this golf course."
Bill Haas, the reigning FedExCup champ who took a share of the lead into the final round at Torrey Pines last year, is tied for fourth at 12 under after a 70. Also at that number is rookie Sang-moon Bae, who was in the mix a week ago in the California desert and rebounded from a front-nine 40 on Saturday to shoot 72.